Public Timetable

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I have to continue my search through many boxes to find my PRR timetables of Trains 645 and 638. In the meantime, here’s page 3 of the Norfolk and Western time table N0. 2 dated October 29, 1961. At this time, the Roanoke Sleeper  westbound to Harrisburg was on Train 3, the Penn Texas, New York to St. Louis.  Eastbound, the Roanoke to New York Sleeper connected to Train 30, the St. Louis  to New York The Spirit of St. Louis.

nw-timetable

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7 Responses to “Public Timetable”

  1. Joyce Wagner Says:

    You guys sound like exactly what I’m looking for. I’m doing research for a novel and am having trouble tracking down a timetable. Here’s my problem. I need to get a bunch of characters from Cincinnati to Birmingham in 1933, starting late afternoon or evening. I was able to find out the N&W had trains that made this run but was stonewalled after that. I need to know what train they would take, how long it would take, does it have a sleeper and/or compartment, and would you know anything about the appearance of the train (interior and exterior).
    Can’t give you anything for your time and effort — except an acknowledgment if and when the novel ever gets published — but I’m betting you’d love the challenge.
    Thanks.
    Joyce Wagner

    • Riley Says:

      Actually, the trains would be Cincinnati – Chattanooga, then Chattanooga to Birmingham. The Southern Railway would be a choice, using the subsidiary Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific to Chattanooga and the subsidiary Alabama Great Southern from there to Birmingham. In 1933, there would have been several trains to choose from on both lines. The trains themselves would have been steam powered, with heavyweight cars. In the 1960’s, there were two Southern trains from Cincinnati to Chattanooga (and onward). One was called the Royal Palm and the other was the Ponce De Leon. If memory serves, the Royal Palm operated southward during the day, getting to Chattanooga in the late afternoon. It continued on to Florida in the dark, thus had sleepers. The Ponce de Leon was the opposite train, presumably also with sleeping cars.

      There is a goodly amount of coverage of heavyweight equipment; I’d start with Wikipedia and then move on to the railroad museums. In particular, the Illinois Railway Museum and Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum are strong. The California Railroad Museum is also a good resource, but a little far afielf for topics about the South. Best regards,

      Riley

  2. Joyce Wagner Says:

    Riley, you are sooo wonderful. What you provided was invaluable and I will continue with the links you suggested.
    Thanks.
    Joyce Wagner

  3. Gary Says:

    Joyce, the best source of information on train schedules is “The Official Guide of the Railways,” a monthly publication that also listed steam navigation lines in days gone by. The earliest edition in my possession is December, 1945. It is likely that nearly every train scheduled in 1945 operated in 1933. The most direct route for travel between Cincinnati and Birmingham was over the Southern Railway. There were two daily departures, one at 8:45 am and one at 7:00 pm (ET) 6:00 pm (CT), closest to the late afternoon. I recommend this one because it was more glamorous. It is Train No. 43, the “Queen and Crescent,” named for the two end cities, the Queen City (Cincinnati) and the Crescent City (New Orleans). Trains that carried a name in the timetable were usually faster and more luxurious. The train stopped at Ludlow, KY, just across the Ohio River, with other Kentucky stops at Georgetown, Lexington, Danville, and Somerset. It stopped at Oakdale, TN, and Chattanooga at 3:00 am. It stopped in Trenton, GA, and in Alabama at Valley Head, Fort Payne, Collinsville, Attalla, and Springville, arriving at Birmingham at 7:15 am. There are numerous flag stops listed in the timetable as well. The information in the Official Guide is thin with respect to specific equipment but it does indicate that the train hauled Pullman sleeping cars, a dining car (which the Southern Railway lists as a “restaurant car”), and a lounge car. In 1933, all of these cars were heavyweights. Good luck with the book!

    • Riley Says:

      Glad that Gary had an earlier Guide; all of mine are post-war. It is possible that the Cincinnati – New Orleans service was a “through sleeper”, coming from further north (such as Detroit). This sleeping car would be hauled by another road, such as B&O or Pennsy, then handed off to the Southern at Cincinnati. This car would then be hauled in a train to Chattanooga, removed from that train and then placed in another train that continued on to New Orleans. The Queen & Crescent seems like a good choice.

      RO’C

  4. Gary Says:

    Just to clarify, in 1945 (and I assume in 1933) the Queen and Crescent was a through train, Cincinnati to New Orleans via Birmingham, with no need to change trains in Chattanooga. Riley is right about the frequency of through sleeping car routes. Before the decline of passenger service Pullman cars were shuffled in and out of trains at major division points to provide service to most cities of any size in the United States. Oh, that we could have such convenience again. A good night’s sleep beats the tedium of the interstates any day.

    • Gary Says:

      Not to sound like the “We-Never-Sleep Train Detective Agency” but I had a fortuitous discovery in my basement thanks to a derelict box of “stuff.” I have a January, 1930 edition of the Official Guide of the Railways. This provides evidence that contradicts the 1945 timetables for the Southern Railway. It lists the Queen and Crescent Limited as a 9:35 am departure from Cincinnati with a 9:40 pm arrival at Birmingham. The evening departure is the New Orleans Special, departing Cincinnati at 7:45 pm with a Birmingham arrival at 9:00 am. Ironically, this train was carded as train number 43, the same number assigned to the Queen and Crescent Limited in 1945. Was this a management sleight-of-hand to swap train numbers and names? Whatever the case, the 1930 evening departure carried many Pullman sleeping cars, a dining car and coaches. I would guess that a story setting for 1933 would more safely use the 1930 information than 1945. Not only is it a closer adjacency, I guess that the war traffic precipitated the change in train designations. But that’s only a guess. Now if we could only find a copy of the Guide for 1933…

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